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He-Man and the Masters of the Universe
Genre Animated television series
Created by Donald F. Glut
Developed by Roger Sweet
Voices of Cam Clarke
Kathleen Barr
Lisa Ann Beley
Gary Chalk
Brian Dobson
Paul Dobson
Michael Donovan
Scott McNeil
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 39 ( List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Bill Schultz
Producer(s) Ian Ritcher
Running time 30 minutes
Original channel Cartoon Network[1]
Original run August 16, 2002 (2002-08-16) – January 10, 2004 (2004-01-10)
Related shows He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe is a modern remake of the 1980s series of the same name, animated by Mike Young Productions, produced to coincide with Mattel's revival of the Masters of the Universe franchise eleven years after its previous attempt. It originally aired on the Cartoon Network from August 1, 2002 to January 10, 2004.

Unlike the previous He-Man series, set on the futuristic planet of Primus, this version sought to return to the roots of the storyline and provide broader explorations never reached in the first series, including origins for each character, and some first time animated debuts of familiar toyline faces. The series also brought back several writers from the original series, such as Larry DiTillio.

The remake is noted for the many similarities it shares with the original. For example, Prince Adam transforms into He-Man when he says "By the power of Grayskull... I have the power!" (later episodes feature a chorus singing He-Man's name during the scene change). It also features "scene change" sequences, but only the one involving the Sword of Power was taken from the Filmation series; all the others were created just for this series, plus the sequences occur less frequently than on the previous series.[2]


Series overview


Season 1

Eternia has seen the end of tyranny and evil. Its community lives in peace, safe in the knowledge that its greatest threats are trapped behind the great barrier in the badlands near Snake Mountain. But little do they suspect of the danger to awaken, for Skeletor has broken through the barrier at last, and hopes to spread his bane once more, beginning with the capture of King Randor. Their liberation is detected within Castle Grayskull by The Sorceress, who informs Man-At-Arms, captain of the guards within Randor's kingdom and a trustworthy ally, that the time has come for destiny to be fulfilled.

Prince Adam, a spoiled, almost carefree future heir to the throne of his father Randor, is trained daily by the unrelenting Teela, his best friend. Adam is approached by Teela's father, Man-At-Arms, who takes Adam to Castle Grayskull. There, Adam learns from the Sorceress of an approaching evil and his role in defending the kingdom as the warrior He-Man. Adam, of course, instantly rebuffs the responsibility and returns to the palace, where he finds that Skeletor's forces have captured his father.[3]

Adam, Man-At-Arms, and Teela pursue Randor's kidnappers into the forests, where they are ambushed. Adam is covered by Man-At-Arms as he returns to Grayskull, followed by his pet tiger Cringer, and the court magician Orko. His flight through the forest infuriates Teela, who only sees a coward leaving the scene of battle. Adam accepts his destiny, and is granted the Sword of Power, which he uses to become He-Man. With Cringer transforming into Battle Cat, a strong and brave method of transport and assistance, He-Man returns to the scene of battle and rescues his father from Skeletor, drawing "first blood.

Over the course of the first season, Randor's armies of defence expand, some convinced to fight through encounters with He-Man. The Sorceress stands revealed as the mother of Teela. Teela's ultimate destiny as the successor to the mantle of The Sorceress manifests in small doses physically and mentally, often causing her pain or general befuddlement at what these abilities are and what they mean for the future. Skeletor becomes aware of Grayskull's power when he attacks it, prompting him to spend much of the season attempting to enter it. Hints are made as to the fate of Skeletor's mentor, Hordak, and the future main adversaries of the second season, The Snake Men.

Much like the original series, selling toys was a key goal of this series, and He-Man and Skeletor would don variations of their costumes or different ones entirely whenever they were briefly "empowered" with an ancient relic or new technology. The first season ends on a cliffhanger in which Skeletor unites several of the other adversaries fought by the Masters into a grand council of evil. He captures most of the Masters, forcing He-Man and Teela to enter Snake Mountain. Adam becomes separated from his sword, and is soon forced to protect Castle Grayskull from Skeletor without it.

Season 2

After the resolution of the season one cliffhanger (Orko returning the sword to Adam, the Masters rescued), the Snake Men, (who were included in the original toyline, but most of them never made an animated appearance), took center stage as the main adversaries, having been hinted at in the first season as being trapped beneath Snake Mountain (the place being their former stronghold, hence the name and reason for its existence) inside a void. They are finally being liberated by allies existing outside of the void, as well as a treacherous Evil-Lyn. Adam is informed of their rising by The Sorceress, and finds his He-Man armour completely different upon transformation, designed to fight the Snake Men, led by King Hiss. Skeletor would still appear from time to time, but would be gradually phased out, although had the series continued, he would have returned to his status as a major player.

This season was shorter than the first, and as a result, more serialized, with certain episodes following one from another. Characters were strongly developed, and old characters reintroduced, including Fisto, who was Man-At-Arms' brother and a disgraced soldier of the court who went AWOL during the last great war. The third episode of this season "Out of the Past", also told the tale of how the Sorceress, on a granted leave from her duties, nursed an amnesia-stricken soldier back to health and fell in love with him. The soldier left mysteriously before she gave birth, and therefore his identity remains a mystery, and it is debated whether or not Man-At-Arms or Fisto were the ones involved, or somebody else entirely. If you watch the original series, it is revealed that Teela is the daughter of the Sorceress. Teela's memory is erased of this fact, this was due to the series requiring that there be no flowing story between episodes for re-run purposes. The secret origins of Evil Lyn, Skeletor, and Castle Grayskull's power source itself, were also revealed.[4]

Season 3

In a Q&A session with the members of He-Man.Org, Ian Richter of Mattel, who was behind many of the storylines of the cartoon, revealed some details on what had been planned for the show. Had the series continued, the second half of season 2 was planned to have featured King Hiss being regenerated after his capture by the Masters, and a final showdown between himself and Skeletor, of which Skeletor would have emerged the victor. Skeletor was then to have used his creation, Faker, to trick the Eternians into thinking He-Man had turned against them, thus enabling him to overthrow Randor and conquer the kingdom for himself. Teela would not have believed it because she would have known He-Man was innocent. The third season would have involved the takeover of Eternia by Hordak and the Evil Horde, who would have been released from their prison by Evil-Lyn and overthrown Skeletor, thus spreading mayhem across Eternia, effectively making He-Man and the Masters wanted fugitives.[5]. Apparently the intention was for Skeletor, who owed his very life to Hordak, to have finally gained the power to overcome his mentor by the end of the season. At some point, Man-At-Arms was to have been captured and turned temporarily into a Snake Man (how long this change would have lasted has been confirmed), King Randor and his Queen were to go on vacation for eight months for safety from Shadow Wing's rage sensed he was freed by Skeletor, Teela would have learned of her heritage also knows Adam's secret also falling in love with He-Man like (Superman & Lois), and She-Ra and Lizard Man would have been introduced. Teela's new outfit would be similar to Wonder Woman's and the Council of Evil would get more villains such as Spikor and Shadow Wing, according to Ian Richter, 'when the time was right' in this season. He-Man would not have needed his Snake man armor any more once the snake men had gone. Teela would not have a ponytail in Season 3; she would have long hair and would be teaming up with He-Man. He-Man was to have lost his sword by Blade the Bounty Hunter after the Battle, he would be using hand to hand combat alongside Teela since she got him to safety and kissed He-man while resting. [5]

Comic book

To coincide with the release of the series, a He-Man comic was created by MV Creations. Three separate series were released between 2002–2004: two mini-series, a short-lived ongoing series and a handful of one-shots were published. Some of these were collected into trade paperback graphic novels. The tone and maturity of the comic was slightly different from the cartoon, as the writers hoped to appeal to the older demographic purchasing the comic. The comic ultimately came to a close when Mattel began to end the licensing program for the Masters of the Universe relaunch. The comics were published by Image Comics, then MV Creations themselves (through Crossgen Comics), before eventually going back to Image Comics.[6]




  • Gary Chalk, the voice of Man-At-Arms, voiced He-Man in The New Adventures of He-Man series.
  • Michael Halperin, developer of the original He-Man series bible, wrote "Of Machines and Men" for the second season.
  • Despite the original form for He-Man only appearing for three more episodes in the second season, a new, longer transformation sequence was created for Adam calling on the power of Grayskull.
  • As an homage and in joke towards the original series, the opening sequence seems similar to the original where Prince Adam gives the classic monologue: "I am Adam, Prince of Eternia, Defender of the secrets of Castle Greyskull. This is Cringer, my fearless friend. Fabulous...". The monologue is abruptly cut off at this point by a fierce fight sequence which composes the rest of the opening sequence.
  • In the first season episode Sky War, Skeletor gets his hands on the Ambrosia, a miracle food which bestows great power upon those who consume it. The effects transform Skeletor into a version of himself not unlike the one seen in the live action movie, a possible homage to the 1987 film. Later, when the Ambrosia's effects finally wear off, Skeletor elicits the same anguished cry that he voiced when losing his god-like power in the movie.
  • Cringer/Battle Cat does not talk in this version since Mike Young Productions didn't want that. Also, they banned the use of Granymyr when it came to the episode "Separation."
  • As an in-joke, the prologue of one episode sees Skeletor attempt to acquire the Diamond Ray of Disappearance, the first mystical weapon he uses against He-Man and Castle Grayskull in the first chronological episode of the original series (it was not the first produced).
  • The series marked the first time that the character Stinkor ever appeared in any animated form. The character was first introduced in the original Masters of the Universe toy-line in 1985, and was originally meant to be a part of the She-Ra: Princess of Power TV series as a member of the Evil Horde. But, he was considered to be too silly of a character. Considering the fact that was basically a humanoid skunk character, whose only power was that of releasing a horrible stench from his body. He was never used in the "She-Ra" series, nor did he appear in the original He-Man and the Masters of the Universe series. The character was finally introduced in this series and was even given a back story as to why he retains his terrible smell. A chemical accident mutated him from a small petty thief known as Odiphus, into the vile Stinkor.
  • The series actually had "moral of the story" segments (as did the original Filmation series). However, these were not seen in the U.S. broadcasts. The segments were later included in the DVD release.
  • In flashbacks during season 1, Man-At-Arms is seen with no mustache. This is a possible joke or reference to the original Man-At-Arms figure, which had no mustache. The mustache was added to the cartoon version because they thought he looked too young.

DVD releases

BCI Eclipse LLC (under license from Entertainment Rights) released the entire series on DVD in Region 1 in three volume sets (each containing 13 episodes) in 2008. Each volume contained an extensive array of special features including Documentaries, commentaries, DVD-ROM features, end of episode morals, photo galleries and more. In December 2008, BCI Eclipse ceased operations, as a result all releases are now out of print.

In June 2009, Mill Creek Entertainment acquired the rights to the series and subsequently released He-Man and the Masters of the Universe - The Complete Series, a 4-disc box set featuring all 39 episodes of the series on DVD in Region 1 on September 29, 2009.[7] They also released a 10-episode single disc best of DVD on the same day.

DVD Name Ep # Region 1 Additional Information
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: The Complete Series 39 September 29, 2009
  • End of Episodes Morals
  • Interviews with Toyline Artists from Mattel and The Four Horsemen
  • 12 audio commentaries
  • Scripts for episodes 1-40
  • A PDF Comic Book for unproduced episode #40


External links


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